La Rambla Stage Special Guests with Steve Piacente

2020 festival program coming soon!


2019  program below



“The Day of the Book Festival has grown from a neighborhood event to an international celebration that draws thousands of visitors and truly offers something for everyone. We have an amazing array of literary, musical and artistic talent lined up for this year. I love seeing kids and adults wander up and down the closed-off streets of Kensington as they talk with authors, enjoy the bands, and meet the artists. Most exciting to me is that in our increasingly digitized world, the festival demonstrates that writing and reading are alive and well!” (Steve Piacente)

Master of Ceremonies Steve Piacente. 

The La Rambla stage is at the corner of Howard Ave and Armory Ave.

With Music by Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings

2019 Special Guests

Master of Ceremonies – Steve Piacente

In addition to his role as festival MC, Steve will speak about Your New Fighting Stance, his first non-fiction book. In Fighting Stance, Steve mines the details of 15 personal vignettes to craft a nine-step plan that encourages and challenges readers to stretch toward the life they’ve always wanted.

“My clients and the people interviewed for this book all have one thing in common,” Steve “They’ve committed to refocusing their energy from the job, the email, and all the screens we’ve allowed to become so important, to a life that is far more fulfilling. They’ve decided good enough is no longer enough, and are doing something about it. The lessons from their storieslight the path from the hassle to the horizon.”

Life coach and former journalist Steve Piacente is the award-winning author of three novels, Pretender, Bella and Bootlicker. Steve, the owner of Next Phase Life Coaching, is also Director of Training at The Communication Center in Washington, D.C., and an associate professor at American University. After journalism, he spent ten years as a speechwriter and communications manager in the federal government. Steve holds a B.A. in Communications from American and a Masters in Fiction from Johns Hopkins University.

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Read an interview with Steve Piacente .

Bob Levey

If there’s anybody who knows the history–and the histrionics–of the Washington media, it’s Bob Levey.

If there’s anybody who understands both the inherent attraction and the inevitable temptations of politics, it’s Bob Levey. 

  And so it is appropriate–and timely–that the former Washington Post columnist and TV-radio commentator has published his first novel about a longtime D.C. journalist who decides to run for Congress in Montgomery County, Maryland.  

Larry Felder, Candidate offers penetrating insights into the contemporary worlds of journalism and politics. The book traces the personal and professional challenges of a career newspaper columnist who decides to leave his comfort zone to pursue a more meaningful calling. Little does he know what lies around the corner.

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Joram Piatigorsky

The Speed of Dark reveals how the author, his mother the daughter of the French Rothschild banking dynasty and his father a world-renowned cellist, broke the chain of his lineage of art, music and banking to establish an important career in science.

Born in the rural Adirondacks as an American citizen after his European parents and sister narrowly escaped Nazi Germany, he spoke French before English, was raised with financial security, was exposed to Rothschild palaces visiting his French grandparents, felt as a foreigner with his Russian family in Moscow, and often felt French in his native America. As a child, he felt simultaneously as his father’s son, yet a guest in the audience when listening to the pinnacle of music played in his home by the greatest artists. As a developing scientist, he benefited by his charismatic father’s influence who asked such an original, imaginative question, “What about the speed of dark?”

Unlike other memoirs about rising from adversity to success, the author brings the reader into the privilege of having a unique family in which the extraordinary is ordinary, and the challenge of being asked, “Are you a failure like the sons of all great men?”


Melanie S. Hatter

Melanie S. Hatter is an award-winning author of two novels and one short story collection. Selected by Edwidge Danticat, Malawi’s Sisters won the inaugural Kimbilio National Fiction Prize, published by Four Way Books in 2019. The Color of My Soul won the 2011 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Prize, and Let No One Weep for Me, Stories of Love and Loss was released in 2014. She was a runner-up winner in the Fiction category of the 2015 and 2016 Montgomery Writes contests sponsored by the Maryland Writers’ Association. Melanie also is a participating author with the PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools program, and serves on the board of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation.

Of Malawi’s Sisters, Edwidge Danticat writes:  “This story is both timely and well executed. We rarely see the private side of the devastating aftermath of police/vigilante/help-seeking and shot-related deaths that this writer describes here in such a suspenseful and nuanced manner. This is the kind of book that might encourage and inspire in depth conversations and discussions and help readers think more deeply about a subject they might have mistakenly thought they knew all about.”

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Paul Dickson

From Paul Dickson, a Casey Award–winning author, the first full biography of Leo Durocher, one of the most colorful and important figures in baseball history.

Leo Durocher (1906–1991) was baseball’s all-time leading cocky, flamboyant, and galvanizing character, casting a shadow across several eras, from the time of Babe Ruth to the Space Age Astrodome, from Prohibition through the Vietnam War. For more than forty years, he was at the forefront of the game, with a Zelig-like ability to be present as a player or manager for some of the greatest teams and defining baseball moments of the twentieth century. A rugged, combative shortstop and a three-time All-Star, he became a legendary manager, winning three pennants and a World Series in 1954.

Dickson explores Durocher’s life and times through primary source materials, interviews with those who knew him, and original newspaper files. A superb addition to baseball literature, Leo Durocher offers fascinating and fresh insights into the racial integration of baseball, Durocher’s unprecedented suspension from the game, the two clubhouse revolts staged against him in Brooklyn and Chicago, and Durocher’s vibrant life off the field.

Paul Dickson has been an independent writer for almost 50 years during which time he has produced more than 60 non-fiction books and numerous newspaper and magazine articles on a variety of subjects.


Elise Bean

At a time when Congressional investigations have taken on added importance and urgency in American politics, this book offers readers a rare, insider’s portrait of the world of US Congressional oversight. It examines specific oversight investigations into multiple financial and offshore tax scandals over fifteen years, from 1999 to 2014, when Senator Levin served in a leadership role on the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), the Senate’s premier investigative body.
Despite mounting levels of partisanship, dysfunction, and cynicism swirling through Congress during those years, this book describes how Congressional oversight investigations can be a powerful tool for uncovering facts, building bipartisan consensus, and fostering change, offering detailed case histories as proof. Grounded in fact, and written as only an insider could tell it, this book will be of interest to financial and tax practitioners, policymakers, academics, students, and the general public.

For nearly 30 years beginning in 1985, Elise Bean worked as legal counsel to Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) on the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In 2003, Senator Levin appointed her his staff director and chief counsel on the Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. In early 2015, Senator Levin retired from the Senate, and so did Ms. Bean. She then helped establish in his honor the Levin Center at Wayne Law in Detroit.

In 2013 and 2011, the Washingtonian named her one of Washington’s 100 most powerful women. In 2010, Ms. Bean was selected by the National Law Journal as one of Washington’s most influential women lawyers.


La Rambla Stage Special Guest Speakers – Schedule

Location: Howard Avenue at Armory Avenue

Coming soon!